Justice Department Sues Florida Over Voter PurgePosted: June 11, 2012 Filed under: 2012 elections, Civil Rights, U.S. Politics | Tags: ACLU, Florida voter purge, Rick Perry, Rick Scott, U.S. Justice Department, Voting Rights Act 4 Comments
Today the U.S. Justice Department and Governor Rick Scott of Florida announced dueling lawsuits over the Florida voter purge. The Miami Sun-Sentinel:
Gov. Rick Scott announced Monday that the state is suing the Obama administration over its refusal to share a Homeland Security database that Scott says Florida needs to adequately clear its voting rolls of any non-citizens who wrongly registered to vote.
“We want to have fair, honest elections in our state, and so we’ve been put in the position that we have to sue to get it,” he told Fox News in an interview just prior to the Department of State announcing it had filed the suit.
But in a letter that seemed certain to intensify the battle between the Scott administration and Washington, the U.S. Department of Justice demanded that Florida halt efforts to purge its voters rolls – telling the state to “immediately cease this unlawful conduct” – and said it was suing the state.
“It appears that the State of Florida is unwilling to conform its behavior to the requirements of federal law,” wrote Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, adding that he had authorized “the initiation of an enforcement action against Florida in federal court.”
The Homeland Security list the Scott wants lists only people with green cards and naturalized citizens. The state has already admitted that the list is inappropriate for the purpose of identifying eligible voters. I suppose Scott wants it so he can make life a living hell for Florida immigrants.
Florida election supervisors have already told Scott that they won’t execute his plan, because it appears that he simply wants to get rid of eligible voters who are likely to vote Democratic.
The ACLU has also sued Florida to stop the illegal voter purge.
The ACLU of Florida says the state’s attempt to remove ineligible voters from the rolls violates the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which was designed to protect minority groups from voter discrimination. Their claims mirror those made by the U.S. Department of Justice, which earlier this month ordered Florida to cease its controversial program.
“The illegal program to purge eligible voters uses inaccurate information to remove eligible citizens from the voter rolls,” said Howard Simon, Executive Director of ACLUFL, in a statement when the suit was filed Friday. “It seems that Governor Scott and his Secretary of State cannot speak without hiding what they mean in political spin. They mislead Floridians by calling their illegal list purge ‘protecting citizen’s voting rights.’ This is precisely why Congress has re-enacted, and why we continue to need, the Voting Rights Act – to prevent state officials from interfering with the constitutional rights of minorities. We now look to the courts to stop the Scott administration from assaulting democracy by denying American citizens the right to vote.”
The ACLUFL is joined by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (LCCRUL) and the law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP in the suit.
If Rick Scott doesn’t like being told what to based on Federal law, perhaps he should get together with Texas Governor Rick Perry and secede from the union.
Evening News Reads for Wednesday: Solar Storms and Cool DogsPosted: March 7, 2012 Filed under: 2012 primaries, SDB Evening News Reads, War on Women, Women's Healthcare, Women's Rights | Tags: ACLU, Guinness, Rush Limbaugh, Single Mothers 15 Comments
My daughter is watching one of her favorite movies, Bend it like Beckham, so I am writing this post to a wonderful sound track.
I was able to find one of the songs from this movie…enjoy.
I really wanted to keep this post light, but unfortunately we are living in disgusting times. So I will speed through the depressing and maddening links:
Glenn Grothman, Wisconsin Senator, Says Unplanned Pregnancies Are The ‘Choice Of The Women’
Wisconsin state senator Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) said “unwanted or mistimed” pregnancies are the “choice of the women” who should learn “that this is a mistake.”
Grothman recently introduced Senate Bill 507, which would formally consider single parenthood a contributing factor to child abuse if passed into law. During an appearance on the Alan Colmes show Friday to discuss the bill, Grothman hit at women who have children out of wedlock and chastised American culture for encouraging “a single motherhood lifestyle.”
“There’s been a huge change over the last 30 years and a lot of that change has been the choice of the women,” Grothman said, noting that he thinks “we should educate women that this is a mistake.”
“I think when you have an epidemic of this great proportion, people are not so dumb that it’s surprising when they get pregnant,” Grothman said of “unwanted or mistimed” pregnancies. “I think people are trained to say that ‘this is a surprise to me,’ because there’s still enough of a stigma that they’re supposed to say this.”
What an asshole! There is a petition on Change.org, if you would like to express your disgust at this ridiculous piece of legislation.
Here is a story that really hits home with all the talk of right-wing righteous dumbshits whose only concern is for the clump of personhood they called a baby…what do they do with the former fetus mother to be? Humiliated, But Not Beaten. Fighting Back on Behalf of Pregnant and Parenting Teens
When I walked into the school gymnasium, every kid in my entire middle school was staring right at me — all 400 of them. It was like a bad dream.
I was confused why the middle school department head had called me into the junior high assembly in the first place. Students who had attended this particular assembly last year didn’t have to attend again and were free to work on homework and other assignments in their home room.
But I soon found out why.
After they called me away from homeroom into the assembly, the school department head made me stand up in front of my entire middle school and announced to everyone that I was pregnant. Until that moment, the only other student at school who knew was my sister. I was embarrassed, hurt and angry.
This bullying attempt at shaming the girl out of the school was in reaction to her not withdrawing from classes “voluntarily.”
Two weeks before they announced my pregnancy to all my classmates, they tried to kick me out of school completely. When my mother told the school department head that I was pregnant, they said I could no longer attend my school because I would “set a bad example for the other girls.” My mother contacted the ACLU and they told my school that it is illegal to discriminate against students because they are pregnant. After four days of missed classes, the school finally told me I could come back.
So when they couldn’t kick me out of school, they decided to publicly humiliate me. Maybe they thought if they embarrassed me enough, I’d leave on my own. But I won’t. I’m going to finish my education, graduate from high school then go to college so I can study nursing or criminal investigation.
She has since had the baby, and returns to school later this month.
Update on the latest advertisers to leave Rush Limbaugh: Rush Limbaugh: Over 40 Advertisers Flee, Host Says ‘Everything’s Cool’
Talk show host Rush Limbaugh sought to reassure listeners Wednesday after the tally of local and national companies that have pulled their advertisements from his time slot topped 40, insisting that the show will go on and that the program is not losing revenue from the exodus.
At last count, 42 advertisers, two radio stations and two musicians have closed the door on Limbaugh following incendiary comments he made last week about a Georgetown law student who testified before Congress in favor of having birth control covered under insurance plans.
Limbaugh told his listeners today that “everything’s cool,” noting that many of the advertisers that have yanked their support are local and thus have little if any impact on the show’s revenues.
“Nobody is losing money here, including us, in all this,” Limbaugh said on his radio show Wednesday. “[The advertisers] are not canceling the business on our stations. They’re just saying they don’t want their spots to appear in my show. We don’t get any revenue from ‘em anyway. The whole effort is to dispirit you.”
Oh yeah, he says that he has 18,000 sponsors and that the “few” he has lost is like losing a couple fries out of a container when you reach for it in a drive thru. Ah, I will pass on the fat jokes, I am sure we can have fun with that analogy in the comments.
“None of what’s happening is out of the ordinary,” Limbaugh said. “It’s just part of an onslaught to try to convince you that this show’s history and our days are numbered. And I’m happy to tell you nothing could be further from the truth.”
Here is the list of confirmed companies who have officially pulled their advertisements from the Rush Limbaugh radio show.
- Service Magic home contractor
- Hadeed Carpets
- Accuquote Life Insurance
- Vitacost vitamin supplier
- Bonobos clothing company
- Sensa weight- loss program
- Thompson Creek Windows
- Tax Resolution Services
- Legal Zoom online document creator
- Carbonite web security firm
- Citrix software maker
- Sleep Train Mattresses
- Sleep Number mattresses
- Quicken Loans
- Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington
- Cascades Dental
- Consolidated Credit Counseling Services
- Constant Contact email marketing firm
- Philadelphia Orchestra
- Reputation Rhino online reputation consulting firm
- St. Vincent’s Medical Center
- Cunningham Security
- Regal Assets precious medal investment group
- Freedom Debt Relief
- Norway Savings Bank
- Portland Ovations performing arts center
- Stamps.comThese companies say their ads were mistakenly run during Limbaugh’s program and have contacted radio stations and media buyers to ensure their ads do not run during his program again.
- Capital One
- PolyCom web conferencing
- Matrix Direct
- NetflixThe following companies said they did not intentionally have their ads run during Limbaugh’s show, but are also not specifically taking steps to remove the ads from his time slot.
- John Deere
- Bethesda Sedation Dentistry
- Amberen menopause medicationOther news outlets have reported that the following companies have pulled their advertisements. ABC News is working to confirm.
- Downeast Energy in Maine
- RSVP Discount Beverage of Portland, Maine (declined to comment to ABC whether they had pulled their ads)
Over at CNN they have a new section in their political ticker, it looks like they are picking up on the success blogs within the liberal political blogging community that post daily news round-ups like we do here on Sky Dancing.
CNN’s GUT CHECK for March 7, 2012 – CNN Political Ticker – CNN.com Blogs
ATTENTION POLITICAL JUNKIES: This week we are debuting CNN’s Gut Check, written by CNN Political Director Mark Preston and CNN Executive Producer Michelle Jaconi. We hope you find it useful; send us feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org. With Super Tuesday behind us, onward to Kansas, Alabama, Mississippi and beyond.
CNN’s GUT CHECK | for Wednesday, March 7, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress, or condition of the political news cycle
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics.com: Analysis: In key Romney win, some warning signs remain
Leading Drudge: Ron Paul: 0-for-23
Leading HuffPo: Chellie Pingree Announces She Will Not Run For Retiring Senator Olympia Snowe’s Seat
Leading Politico: Mitt fights back with math
Leading New York Times: For an Upbeat Romney, the Bottom Line Is the Numbers
Leading Leavenworth (Kansas) Times: Organizers prepare for Republican caucus
Interesting isn’t it…take a look at the post…
Anyway, a big ass solar storm is heading out way:
Strong solar storm heading for Earth – Africa – Al Jazeera English
And now for something completely different…and a bit funny first…
This cartoon from Mike Luckovich is one I thought was real cute: 3/8 Mike Luckovich: Mitt Romney | Mike Luckovich
You bet it does.
And this commercial from Guinness, h/t The Dish Andrew Sullivan:
So that is all for this round up! Catch y’all later in the comments.
US Citizens Arrested, Interrogated, and Stranded OverseasPosted: August 25, 2011 Filed under: Barack Obama, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, Egypt, FBI raids, Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Kuwait, MENA, Middle East, Somalia, Yemen | Tags: ACLU, American Muslims, CIA, COINTELPRO, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Egypt, FBI, Gulet Mohamed, Kuwait, middle east, Mother Jones, Nick Baumann, no-fly list, Somalia, Yahya Wehelie, Yemen 6 Comments
From The New York Times, January 5, 2011:
An American teenager detained in Kuwait two weeks ago and placed on an American no-fly list claims that he was severely beaten by his Kuwaiti captors during a weeklong interrogation about possible contacts with terrorism suspects in Yemen.
The teenager, Gulet Mohamed, a Somali-American who turned 19 during his captivity, said in a telephone interview on Wednesday from a Kuwaiti detention cell that he was beaten with sticks, forced to stand for hours, threatened with electric shocks and warned that his mother would be imprisoned if he did not give truthful answers about his travels in Yemen and Somalia in 2009.
American officials have offered few details about the case, except to confirm that Mr. Mohamed is on a no-fly list and, for now at least, cannot return to the United States. Mr. Mohamed, from Alexandria, Va., remains in a Kuwaiti detention center even after Kuwait’s government, according to his brother, determined that he should be released.
During the interview with the NYT, Mohammed said, “I am a good Muslim, I despise terrorism.”
During the 90-minute telephone interview, Mr. Mohamed was agitated as he recounted his captivity, tripping over his words and breaking into tears. He said he left the United States in March 2009 to “see the world and learn my religion,” and had planned to return to the United States for college.
He said he had traveled to Yemen to study Arabic, but stayed less than a month because his mother worried about his safety. He said that he spent five months later that year living with an aunt and uncle in northern Somalia, before moving to Kuwait in August 2009 to live with an uncle and continue his Arabic studies.
Mohammed’s ordeal began when he went to the airport in Kuwait to renew his travel visa. He was held for five hours and then handcuffed, blindfolded and taken to a prison where he was interrogated and beaten on his feet and face with sticks when he didn’t give the “right answers.”
“Are you a terrorist?” they asked, according to his account.
“No,” he replied.
“Do you know Anwar?” his interrogators asked, referring to Mr. Awlaki.
“I’ve never met him,” Mr. Mohamed recalled saying.
“You are from Virginia, you have to know him,” they responded, according to Mr. Mohamed. From 2001 to 2002, Mr. Awlaki was the imam of a prominent mosque in northern Virginia.
Mohammed told the NYT in January that even after being released, he couldn’t sleep or eat and was constantly fearful. He said he has “always been pro-American” and obviously could not understand why he was targeted. After the article in the NYT, Mohammed was finally permitted to return home later in January. He told the Washington Post that his ordeal had “made me stronger.”
Mohammed is only one of many American citizens of Middle Eastern or African descent who have found themselves stranded overseas, unable to return home because their names have been put on a no-fly list while they were out of the country. Many of these people have been arrested and interrogated by foreign governments, apparently at the request of the F.B.I. From the Post article (1/21/2011):
Civil liberties groups charge that his case is the latest episode in which the U.S. government has temporarily exiled U.S. citizens or legal residents so they can be questioned about possible terrorist links without legal counsel.
The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the U.S. government on behalf of 17 citizens or legal residents who were not allowed to board flights to, from or within the United States, presumably because, like Mohamed, they were on the government’s no-fly list. Of those stranded overseas, all were eventually told they could return, often after they agreed to speak to the FBI. None was arrested upon their return.
The ACLU suit, filed in Portland, Ore., alleges that Americans placed on the no-fly list are denied due process because there is no effective way to challenge their inclusion. The government does not acknowledge that any particular individual is on the no-fly list or its other watch lists. Nor will it reveal the exact criteria it uses to place people on its list.
This week Mother Jones published a series of reports on their investigations of FBI operations that sound like COINTELPRO updated.
COINTELPRO was an FBI covert operation that targeted domestic left-wing and anti-war groups from 1956 to 1971, in the name of “national security.” Frankly, the covert operations have probably continued even though they are technically illegal. But lately we’ve seen an uptick in FBI operations targeting groups within the U.S. Until I came across a couple of blog posts last week about American muslims being targeted overseas, I had no idea the FBI had branched out to foreign covert operations.
At Mother Jones, Nick Baumann writes:
In the past, the FBI has denied that it asks foreign governments to apprehend Americans. But, a Mother Jones investigation has found, the bureau has a long-standing and until now undisclosed program for facilitating such detentions. Coordinated by elite agents who serve in terrorism hot spots around the world, the practice enables the interrogation of American suspects outside the US justice system. “Their citizenship doesn’t seem to matter to the government,” says Daphne Eviatar, a lawyer with Human Rights First. “It raises a question of whether there’s a whole class of people out there who’ve been denied the right to return home for the purpose of interrogation in foreign custody.”
I highly recommend reading the whole article. Baumann describes other cases similar to Mohammed’s and reveals information he obtained from government officials and representatives of human rights groups.
Here is another example from a 2010 Huffpo article:
A Virginia man said he has been stuck in limbo in Egypt for the last six weeks, living in a cheap hotel and surviving on fast food after his name was placed on a U.S. no-fly list because of a trip to Yemen.
Yahya Wehelie, a 26-year-old Muslim who was born in Fairfax, Virginia to Somali parents, said Wednesday he spent 18 months studying in Yemen and left in early May. The U.S. has been scrutinizing citizens who study in Yemen more closely since the man who tried to blow up a U.S.-bound airliner on Christmas was linked to an al-Qaida offshoot in Yemen.
Wehelie was returning to the U.S. with his brother Yusuf via Egypt on May 5 when Egyptian authorities stopped him from boarding his flight to New York. They told him the FBI wanted to speak with him.
He said he was then told by FBI agents in Egypt that his name was on a no-fly list because of people he met in Yemen and he could not board a U.S. airline or enter American airspace. His passport was canceled and a new one issued only for travel to the United States, which expires on Sept. 12. He does not have Somali citizenship.
Wehelie said his brother Yusuf was allowed to return home, but only after he was detained for three days by Egyptian police on suspicion of carrying weapon. He said his brother was shackled to a jail wall and interrogated by a man who claimed to work for the CIA. He was then dumped in the street outside the prison when he feigned illness.
In June, 2010, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) posted a list of American Muslims who had been kept from returning to the U.S. after trips abroad.
In July, 2010, CAIR posted a warning on its website informing Muslim-Americans that they could end up in “forced exile” if they traveled to another country.
CAIR this week issued an advisory to American Muslims — whether citizens, permanent residents or visa holders — warning of the risk of “forced exile” when traveling overseas or attempting to return to the United States. Muslim travelers are urged to know their legal rights if they are placed on the so-called “no-fly list.”
In the past few months, CAIR has received a number of reports of American Muslims stranded overseas when they are placed on the government’s no-fly list. Those barred from returning to the United States report being denied proper legal representation, being subjected to FBI pressure tactics to give up the constitutionally-guaranteed right to remain silent, having their passports confiscated without due process, and being pressured to become informants for the FBI. These individuals have not been told why they were placed on the no-fly list or how to remove their names from the list.
FBI agents have reportedly told a number of individuals that they face being stranded outside the United States longer, or forever, unless they give up their rights to legal representation or to refuse interrogations and polygraph tests. But even those who submitted to interrogations without an attorney or to the “lie detector” tests remain stranded.
This situation is outrageous, and President Obama should be directly confronted about his support of this un-American, authoritarian policy (White House approval is required for many of these FBI activities). Perhaps a relatively high profile article like the one in Mother Jones will influence some mainstream reporters to do that. In the meantime, please spread the word in any way you can.